My Teeth/ Dental Health Theme Day
According to the American Dental Association February is Dental Health Month, but this theme day would work just as well as a preparation for a check up at the Dentist or when a child’s first loose tooth has fallen out.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
Use this opportunity to talk about the importance of daily dental health (brushing and flossing and drinking milk) and yearly check-ups and cleanings. If your little one is afraid of the dentist talk about his/her fears and what you can do together to make the experience less frightening (reading books about going to the dentist might help or planning a special dinner together as a reward afterwards could alleviate some stress).
Many Children’s albums include the song “You Brush Your Teeth.” Check here for the lyrics and sing it with your child:
Or if you don’t know how the song goes click here to watch a video with the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ifXiGOawEg
While not about going to the dentist or looking after your teeth the song “When I See You Smile” by Bad English (John Waite) still talks about the power of a beautiful smile!
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “teeth coloring pages” or print out my Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth Colouring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What is the best way to take care of your teeth? Do you like going to the dentist? What does a dentist do? What is a dental hygienist? How do you take care of your teeth?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about the tooth fairy.
Print out my Dental Health Word Search:
Easy Dental Health Word Search or Difficult Dental Health Word Search.
Check here for the answer keys:
Easy Dental Health Word Search Key or Difficult Dental Health Word Search Key.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about teeth or going to the dentist.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about teeth or the dentist.
Go to the library on your own to find books about teeth and going to the dentist from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search for Teeth or Dentists under Children’s Books). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some picture books about having a loose tooth:
· Tabitha’s Terrifically Tough Tooth, by Charlotte Middleton, Phyllis Fogelman Books, 2001—Tabitha tries everything to get rid of her loose tooth. Will she succeed?
· Dragon Tooth, story and pictures by Cathryn Falwell, Clarion Books, 1996—Even though Sara’s father calls her loose tooth a dragon’s tooth because it hurts her and is roaring in her mouth she will not let him pull it for her. But when she makes a large dragon craft and helps it by pulling it’s loose tooth she lets her father eventually help her.
Here are some picture books about the Tooth Fairy:
· Dear Tooth Fairy, by Pamela Duncan Edwards and illustrated by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Katherine Tegen Books, 2003—Claire mails the tooth fairy a number of letters because she is concerned she doesn’t have a loose tooth yet and the tooth fairy eventually responds to her.
· Nice Try Tooth Fairy, by Mary W. Olson and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson, Emma sends the tooth fairy a note because she would like her tooth returned so she can show it to her Grandfather but the tooth fairy keeps sending her the wrong tooth.
· You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt and illustrated by David Slonim, Chronicle Books, 2007—The cute red-headed tooth fairy in this book reveals all the dangerous things she must do to retrieve those baby teeth.
Check this book out to learn about other traditions regarding baby teeth, aside from leaving them for the tooth fairy:
· Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World, by Shelby B. Beeler and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998—This is a fascinating book that reveals different traditions regarding baby teeth, from a magic mouse named El Ratón to planting teeth in various brushes and plants to throwing them on the roof….
Read some of these nonfiction/learning titles if you can find them:
· ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z, by Harriet Ziefert and paintings by Liz Murphy, Blue Apple Books, 2008— This is a thorough book that covers all elements of going to the dentist and tooth care and would be a good book for those nervous about the dentist.
· Dentists, by Kristin L. Nelson, Lerner Publications Company, 2005—This easy to read book has photographs and words in bold to explain the importance of going to the dentist.
· Does a Lion Brush?, by Fred Ehrlich, M.D., and pictures by Emily Bolam, Blue Apple Books, 2002—This simple picture book starts out funny by asking whether various animals brush their teeth but then gently introduces the importance of brushing your teeth for people. This is a good book for younger children.
· Do I Have to Go to the Dentist?: A first Look at Healthy Teeth, by Pat Thomas and illustrated by Lesley Harker, Barron’s, 2008—This would be a good book for kids nervous about going to the dentist as it gently goes through the steps from waiting room to check up and even talks about what it is like to have a cavity filled.
· The Magic School Bus and the Missing Tooth, written by Jeanette Lane and illustrated by Carolyn Bracken, Scholastic Inc., 2006—Ms. Frizzle's class flies away in the shrinking magic school bus to venture inside various mouths searching for who has lost the tooth they found in their classroom. This is full of little facts throughout.
· Open Wide Tooth School Inside, by Laurie Keller, Henry Holt and Company, 2000—This book was a big hit at our house. Using fun collage illustrations this book demonstrates tooth care through the character of Dr. Flossman as he teaches his class of 32 teeth
· The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, by Edward Miller, holiday House, 2008—This is a fun book that looks at all aspects of dental health care with bright illustrations.
· Tooth Decay and Cavities, by Dr. Alvin Silverstein, Virginia Silverstein, and Laura Silverstein Nunn, Grolier Publishing, 1999—This is a good book for older kids as it goes into more detail about teeth, going to the dentist, and cavities.
· Your Body Battles A Cavity, by Vicki Cobb, illustrations by Andrew N. Harris, and Photomicrographs by Dennis Kunkel, Millbrook Press, 2009—This informative book uses both illustrations (and cartoons of the superheroes in your body that help fight cavities like your salivary gland cells) and microphotography to explain what causes a cavity, how our body tries to fight cavities, and what a dentist does to help us as well.
Materials: A piece of coloured paper, old magazines to cut, child safe scissors, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Together with your child, search through old magazines for pictures of smiles showing teeth.
· Step 2: Cut out the pictures of toothy grins and put them in a pile.
· Step 3: Let your child glue the pictures on the coloured paper in any way.
· Step 4: Display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
MAGIC TOOTH BOX:
Materials: A small paper box or tin or matchbox, markers or paint or glitter glue, sequins or stars or glitter or any other materials, white glue, a piece of white paper cut into a tooth shape, cotton balls
· Step 1: Paint the box to cover any unwanted lettering and let it dry before proceeding to the next step.
· Step 2: Have your child decorate the box with paint or markers, however they desire.
· Step 3: Let your child glue any stars, ribbon, sequins, or glitter to the box to decorate it.
· Step 4: Have your child glue the paper tooth to the top of the box.
· Step 5: Let it dry.
· Step 6: Apply a layer of cotton (pulled so it is light and fluffy) inside the box.
· Step 7: When your child has lost a tooth set the box out beside your child’s bed with the tooth on the cotton so it is ready for the tooth fairy.
Materials: White paper plate, markers, child safe scissors, a Popsicle stick or craft stick or straw, tape.
· Step 1: Cut the paper plate in half to make a half circle.
· Step 2: Turn the circle so the round side is facing down and the flat side up, making a smile!
· Step 3: Encourage your child to draw lips and then teeth to complete the smile.
· Step 4: Tape the Popsicle stick or straw to the back of the plate and hold the smile up to your face to show a big happy smile.
Calcium keeps teeth strong so offer some cheese or yogurt or a glass of milk at snack time.
For a non-dairy snack that has calcium eat some almonds (if there are no nut allergies in your family, of course).
Ingredients: Frozen berries or other frozen fruit like mango (or use any other fruit you have on hand), one banana, two small containers of yogurt (or 1 cup), ½ cup milk, ¼ cup juice (any flavour), a blender.
Step 1: Pour all the ingredients in a blender in order.
Step 2: Blend together until creamy. You may need to stop and mix with a spoon if there are still some big chunks of frozen food left.
Ingredients: A piece of toast, cream cheese or peanut butter, raisins (you can also use nuts, fresh berries or any other type of dried fruit).
Step 1: Spread the cream cheese or peanut butter on your toast (you can cut the toast in the shape of a tooth beforehand as well).
Step 2: Let your child make a face on the toast using the raisins.
Salmon is a non-dairy food with calcium in it, make a salmon sandwich using a can of salmon (with bones mashed for extra calcium) and some mayonnaise, seasoned with dill and a little lemon juice, and then spread on bread.
Serve up some green vegetables alongside dinner for this theme day. A number of veggies have calcium in them: bok choy, brussel sprouts, peas, broccoli, okra, turnip greens, spinach, collard greens…
Frozen yogurt is a good offering for this Theme Day. Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterwards!
I found these two printable sheets to review the basics in dental care at home:
How to brush: http://www.ada.org/public/events/ncdhm/activity_how_to_brush.pdf
How to Floss: http://www.ada.org/public/events/ncdhm/activity_how_to_floss.pdf
Print out my “Brush Your Teeth Chart” and have your child decorate it with crayons and then tape it on your bathroom door so your child can keep track of whether he/she brushes his/her teeth each day.
Special thanks to Lydia (aged 10) from Central Pennsylvania for recommending this webpage on how to keep your smile shining: http://www.mainstreetsmiles.com/keep-your-smile-shining/
This is a great site about dental health for kids. There is a lot to explore here including a look around a dentist’s office, information about cavities and how braces work, and a quiz (among other things): http://www.healthyteeth.org/
Here is a website with some great kid info about teeth including the names of the types of teeth and it has some simple games that show the different things one might see at a dental hygienist and one that shows what healthy snacks are: http://www.adha.org/kidstuff/index.html
This site has lots of tooth related games: http://www.colgate.com/app/Kids-World/US/Games-And-Activities.cvsp
I remember these little cartoon commercials about brushing your teeth from when I was a child:
WHAT DOES SUGAR DO TO YOUR TEETH?
Materials: You need some soda pop (your child’s favourite type) a tooth (I kept mine from when I was a little girl. I couldn’t part with anything so I would write to the tooth fairy to ask if I could keep my baby teeth), a clear glass, a ruler, a spoon.
Step 1: Observe the tooth before the experiment. What does it look like? Draw a picture of it on my Tooth Experiment Chart. Measure it and record the length/width on the chart.
Step 2: Pour soda pop in the glass.
Step 3: Gently place the tooth in the glass of soda pop using the spoon.
Step 4: What do you observe?
Step 5: Check on the tooth every week and record any changes on the chart.
WHAT DOES FLUORIDE DO?
We found this experiment online and tried it. I think we should have let the second egg sit in the fluoride longer or else just stuck with the egg without fluoride to show what food acids do to our teeth:
Here’s another longer experiment that I found online but we didn’t attempt it:
TOOTH BOARD GAME:
Materials: White or coloured paper, markers or crayons, tape (optional), a coin.
Step 1: Taped two coloured sheets of paper together on the back only so the tape won’t interfere with your colouring.
Step 2: Cut out squares or circles (or tooth shapes like we did) ahead of time for each space on the game board (or you can write right on the paper and simply encircle any writing to make each space).
Step 3: Together with your child come up with different teeth/dentist related things to write on each space. We like to include simple actions like clapping your hands, smiling, etc., roll again, miss a turn (although beware of temper tantrums if you have a competitive child), go ahead 1 space, go back 1 space, etc. Be sure to write a space to START and a space to FINISH. We also like to draw little pictures for each space that relate to what is said.
Step 4: Glue the cut-outs to y our board and draw arrows to show the direction of play.
Step 5: Draw some dental related playing pieces and cut them out.
Step 7: Play your game! Flip a coin for each turn. Heads – move one space. Tails – move two spaces.
Examples of some of our spaces:
· You have an appointment at the dentist. Move ahead 2 spaces.
· You have a new toothbrush pretend to brush your teeth.
· The dentist says your teeth are nice and clean. Smile!
· You forgot to drink milk. Go back one space.
· You drank lots of milk. Roll again.
· You got a coin from the tooth fairy! Jump up and down!
· You have a cavity. Miss a turn.
Q: Why did Dracula brush his teeth all the time?
A: He wanted to prevent bat breath.
Q: What do you get when you cross teeth with candy?
A: dental floss
Q: What is an astronaut’s cavity called?
A: A black hole.
Q: When is the best time to go to the dentist?
Q: What does a dentist call his x-rays?
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows that highlight going to the dentist, having a loose tooth or the tooth fairy.
Try to find this title:
· The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Nelvana, 2002
Go shopping for a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss together.
Have this theme day prior to your child’s dental check up or cleaning and a trip to the dentist’s office can be called a field trip!
Photo: C Wright
Brush your teeth!
For the Tooth Fairy: A Magic Tooth Box
Picture of “A tooth with hair
and a toothbrush”
By my three year old son.
Baby tooth ready to be submerged
in soda pop.
Photo: C Wright
Homemade Board Game
Fluoride experiment with eggs.
Photo: C Wright